Sunday, June 2, 2013

There's No Such Thing As Free Size!

Before I moved to India, I shopped like a fool. I was really worried I wasn't going to find much in the way of western wear that would fit. Even by US standards, I'm not a half-pint. I generally prefer an XL size and was certain that an XL in India was NOT the same as an XL in the states. I was right. When it comes to Indian clothing dubbed as "traditional wear" I don't struggle too much. I can find kurtis, leggings and patialas that suit me just fine, although some run a little short as I'm taller then you're average Desi. Overall though it's not an issue. Generally when shopping, I immediately seek out the largest size available and see if that will work. As is the case everywhere, size by brand varies, but I've found some brands that fit really well and try to stick to those.
What is an issue, however, is this concept of "free size." The only thing that should be dubbed as "free size" are handbags and scarves. Nothing else should be in that category. Yet in India, when I ask the sales girl, "What's the largest size you have?" I often get a response like "Okay madam, no problem. It's free size." It's a dress, there's no chance it can be free size! I've been given this response when shopping for everything from anarkalis (see Say Yes To The Dress) to t-shirts. That's the same as saying what fits my 5'8 XL frame is going to fit my sister in laws 5'2 S frame. It's not gonna happen!
One size does not fit all!
Today I was browsing an Indian retailers website, searching for some long sleeved t-shirts. They had an awesome collection and offered what I was looking for in every color of the rainbow. The problem: the t-shirts were "free size." Take a look at the photo to the left and tell me if the mannequin and I wear the same size? The same website has full sleeve shrugs, which is another item I've been searching for. Again, in free size. I'd be like the hulk trying to get out of this thing!
I can assure you, one size does NOT fit all. I really can't understand why clothing manufacturers would even have such a thing. Especially clothing manufacturers that specialize in women's clothing when half the allure of the outfit, is in how it fits! Granted tailors are abundant here and you can always have something taken in or hemmed, but you can never make it bigger and I can assure you, you itty bitty sales girl, there is no such thing as free size and it is a problem! 

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